National Lawyers Guild 2011
Voters’ Guide to Primary Election Judicial Candidates
In the upcoming May 17, 2011 primary election, the ballot will include candidates for judges at several levels of the Pennsylvania judicial system, including Supreme Court, Superior Court, Commonwealth Court, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia Municipal Court, and Philadelphia Traffic Court. For empty seats, the Democratic and Republican parties have nominated candidates. (In some cases they have nominated competing candidates and in other cases they are the same.)
Once again, voters are asked to make choices with almost no information about the candidates. As a progressive bar association dedicated to the need for basic and progressive change in the structure of our political and economic system, the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild is concerned about this lack of information. To that end, a committee of the National Lawyers Guild Philadelphia Chapter has surveyed members of the progressive legal community in Philadelphia and other parts of Pennsylvania.
Members of the progressive legal community were asked to respond to a short, anonymous questionnaire about the candidates. The respondents included attorneys for non-profit public interest organizations, criminal defense attorneys, prosecutors, private practitioners, and law professors. The vast majority had 11 or more years experience as lawyers or legal workers, and many had more than 25 years.
Respondents were asked how they knew the candidates, and how they would rate the candidates for election. Respondents were then asked to give a detailed response in regards to their rating of a specific candidate. These comments are perhaps the most telling, and useful to other voters. We have made no substantive changes to the comments, and edited comments only for length and professional tone.
Here are the results of the survey. We hope that you will find them useful in making your voting decision. Please be aware, however, that these ratings and comments reflect the opinions of the individual respondents only, and are not to be taken as opinions or endorsements by the National Lawyers Guild or the Guild’s Philadelphia Chapter. In fact, as with any survey reflecting many points of view, there is significant disagreement among the respondents as to the merits of some of the candidates. Note that a response of “no opinion” likely reflects the fact that the legal professionals we surveyed did not have personal knowledge of the candidate. Favorable and unfavorable percentages reflect actual knowledge and remainder have no information.
These websites, though not connected to the Guild, have additional useful information about the candidates:
Article by Tom Ferrick about some of the candidates:http://www.phlmetropolis.com/2011/05/te ... ry-day.php
Philadelphia Bar Association Guide to Judicial Elections:http://www.philadelphiabar.org/page/Jud ... n?appNum=1
Philadelphia Bar Associaltion's list of recommended candidates:http://www.philadelphiabar.org/page/Cur ... s?appNum=1
Pennsylvania Bar Association candidate ratings for appellate courts:http://www.pavotesmart.com/
Liberty City Democratic Club endorsements with links to candidate questionnaires:http://www.libertycity.org/candidates/
For further information, please contact the National Lawyers Guild Philadelphia Chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org